Breaking Down the NFL Contenders Heading Into Week 12 Action

Anthony DiMoro
Bills quarterback Josh AllenPhoto by(AP Photo/Joshua Bessex)

Thanksgiving is over and NFL teams will wrap up Week 12 when the remaining slate of teams kickoff action starting on Sunday, as the season turns towards the stretch run.

With the playoff picture starting to take shape, let's take a look at some of the teams who are legit contenders, and those who are anything but.

Kansas City Chiefs

Legit: The Chiefs passing game led by Patrick Mahomes continues to be electric. Travis Kelce is putting together another incredible season, and JuJu Smith-Schuster it proving to be a solid free agent addition with 46 receptions and 615 yards.

Kelce had the lions-share of touchdowns, but teams still cannot seem to stop him as he averages 12.4 yards per reception.

Not Legit: The Chiefs running game is not at all what was expected. Clyde Edwards-Helaire was supposed to be a fantasy stud this season, but had

Verdict: Legit Super Bowl Contender

Buffalo Bills

Legit: The Bills have a very well-rounded team with a very good defense and an explosive offense led by Josh Allen. Allen has thrown for 3,183 yards for 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions, but has rushed for 561 yards and 5 touchdowns on the ground.

Allen is the catalyst for the Bills success.

Not Legit: Allen has struggled at times this season, as his 11 interceptions have shown, but leading the team in rushing is a bigger concern as both Devin Singletary or James Cook have been able to be the workhorse that the Bills offense need.

However, when the Bills are hot they are nearly unstoppable.

Verdict: Legit Super Bowl Contender

Miami Dolphins

Legit: Tua Tagovailoa and the passing offense have been better than advertised with Tua stepping up his game to near elite quarterback status.

Tua has done everything this season; from comeback victories to game-winning drives to big throws in clutch situations. The only thing Tua hasn't done this season is lose when he plays a full game.

Not Legit: The run game is improving week-to-week and Jeff Wilson looks like he will be the power back that the finesse offense needs.

However, there are serious concerns about the defense. Injuries to the secondary have hampered this team, but an inconsistent pass rush has been slow to turn things around. Hopefully they're hitting on all cylinders come playoff time.

Verdict: AFC Championship Contenders

Minnesota Vikings

Legit: Justin Jefferson has been the MVP of the Vikings, and if the NFL MVP wasn't essentially a quarterback award, Jefferson would be far and away the league's MVP.

Not Legit: Consistency.

Both the offense and defense have struggled to get our of the ruts they are in, and it has cost them.

Verdict: NFC Championship Contenders

Tennessee Titans

Legit: Derrick Henry has more on his shoulders this season, as the Titans have struggled big time without AJ Brown, or a receiver of his caliber, in the offense.

Not Legit: Ryan Tannehill takes the cake here. While an argument can be made that the defense has been less than stellar, Tannehill's inability to find ways to win when Henry isn't bell-cowing the Titans offense is a glaring issue.

Verdict: Wild-Card Contenders

Cincinnati Bengals

Legit: Ja'Marr Chase is electric when he is on the field, but he has only played in 7 games this season. However, Chase returning for the big push and playoff run instantly elevates the Bengals

Not Legit: Defense. Pass rush has been almost non-existent with Trey Hendrickson leading the team with 6 sacks and Sam Hubbard trailing him with 3.5.

If Cincy can figure out how to get more consistent pressure, they'll be able to battle it out with the other AFC heavyweights.

Verdict: Divisional Round Contenders

Baltimore Ravens

Legit: Lamar Jackson on the ground. Amassing 666 yards and 3 touchdowns is impressive for a quarterback, and it leads the Ravens by a lot. J.K. Dobbins' injury certainly anchored down the offense, and Jackson has picked up the slack.

Not Legit: Offense. While Jackson has been stellar on the ground, the running back corps has been inconsistent and the passing game has been troubling.

If Baltimore gets behind big, it's hard to see a scenario where they can generate points in a hurry to get back into a game.

Giving up some epic comebacks is also noteworthy, but the defense has stabilized a bit.

Verdict: Wild Card Contenders

Philadelphia Eagles

Legit: Jalen Hurts has ascended to Elite status this season, and the Eagles offense is as legit as any in the league, especially with the addition of A.J. Brown this offseason.

Brown and Devonta Smith are one of the league's best receiver combos, and Miles Sanders has quietly put together a Pro Bowl season on the ground.

The Eagles are a potent offense that, like the Bills, look unstoppable when hot.

Not Legit: The Eagles haven't had too many glaring issues this season, but they remind me of the Bills, who seem to let their struggles drag on a bit.

Verdict: Super Bowl Contenders

Dallas Cowboys

Legit: The offense proved a lot, without both Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott the Cowboys simply grinding through it. Now, both are healthy and the Cowboys offense is looking to be getting better at the most critical time of the season

Not Legit: The secondary. With only 7 interceptions this season, the secondary stands out as the weak link on an otherwise solid Cowboys defense.

Still, Dallas has proven they can find success in adversity and that makes them impossible to take lightly come playoff time.

Verdict: Super Bowl Contenders

New York Giants

Legit: Saquon Barkley has returned to form this season, racking up 992 yards and 7 touchdowns to prove he is the most important player on the Giants, and critical to their success.

Not Legit: Passing Game. The Giants are a run-first team, but defenses will force Daniel Jones to try and beat them, and he has not proven he can be that guy.

Jones has 2,165 yards to go with 10 touchdowns and 4 interceptions and doesn't seem like the caliber of quarterback to win games in the clutch, or come playoff time.

Verdict: Wild Card Contenders

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CEO of Gamactica and Elite Rank Media. Contributor to Sports Rants, Fright Nerd and Search Engine Watch. Former contributor for Forbes and Huffington Post. Covers sports, internet marketing, gaming, entertainment, and the content creation industries.

Miami, FL

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